I’ve somehow managed to get to the wrong side of mid-40 without ever having tasted saffron, although Justin’s used it in some of the kitchens he’s worked in (he’s so windswept & interesting!).
It’s often added to rice dishes and sauces, but I obviously decided to give it my first outing in a cake!
Saffron loaf is a traditional Cornish recipe. It’s a very straightforward bake; mix the dry ingredients, crumb in the butter, add the saffron-infused milk, form a soft dough, a short prove then pop it in the oven for about an hour.
This isn’t a dainty cake. You can cut it into small, delicate pieces for a touch of refinement, of course… but we didn’t go down the Ritz afternoon tea route and had a large slice (with a scraping of butter!).
A rustic pottery mug full of strong tea was the ideal accompaniment.
It’s sweet & fruity with the subtle, yet distinctive, saffron flavour coming through nicely.
A delicious late afternoon pick-me-up – a perfect way to satisfy that peckish stage between lunch & dinner.
- 0.1g saffron threads
- 125ml/4½fl oz milk
- 500g/18oz plain flour
- 10g/⅓oz dried, fast-action yeast
- pinch salt
- ¼tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 250g/9oz cold butter, cubed
- 250g/9oz golden caster sugar
- 350g/12oz mixed dried fruit (I used raisins, currants and sultanas)
- Grease a 1kg/2.2lb loaf tin
- Heat the saffron and milk in a pan over a medium heat until the mixture has turned yellow and is almost simmering
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and nutmeg
- Add the butter and sugar and rub in using your fingertips or pastry blender until it forms the consistency of breadcrumbs
- Stir in the dried fruit until well combined
- Add the yeast to the saffron milk mixture, stir well before adding it to the dry mixture
- Mix until the mixture comes combines to form a soft dough
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until smooth
- Put the dough into the greased loaf tin, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour to rise
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Bake for an hour, or until the loaf is beginning to brown
- Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing it from the tin on to a wire rack and allowing it to cool further
- Great spread with butter and/or thin slices of cheddar cheese. Have it toasted when it's a few days old.